NHBZ, Block Yeshiva reach settlement


Nusach Hari B’nai Zion and Block Yeshiva High School announced last week they have settled their legal dispute over back rent amicably.

NHBZ had filed the suit in September in St. Louis County Circuit Court alleging breach of lease and seeking more than $38,000 in back rent plus attorney fees. Block Yeshiva’s lease was terminated in August, according to an earlier statement from NHBZ’s board. The shul’s court filing said it had rented the back part of the synagogue to the school since 2005.


Block’s filed a motion to dismiss in late November, asserting that the case should be placed under the jurisdiction of a beth din, a traditional Jewish court. A settlement conference was scheduled in March, after which the case was withdrawn from the circuit court.

In the news release last week, the congregation and the school announced that a settlement was reached outside of court, although terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The presidents of each organization expressed admiration and respect for the other.

NHBZ’s President Robert Kaiser said in the release, “We have always seen Block Yeshiva as an indispensible community asset, providing a high quality Jewish and general-studies education for our kids. Block graduates excel in everything they do, whether in service to the community or academically, allowing them to attend the finest colleges. The dispute never dampened our admiration for the school. We viewed this as a disagreement within the family, and it ended the way family disputes should end–with mutual respect, love and admiration.”

Block’s President, Richard Axelbaum, echoed that sentiment: “We were all able to look past this challenge and remember that we are really on the same team, working to build a stronger Jewish community. Nusach Hari works tirelessly to build Jewish unity, reaching out to the entire community with innovative programming and a welcoming environment. While it is unfortunate that the dispute occurred, I think that it provided us a great opportunity to remember that, when all is said and done, it is the community that matters.”

Nusach Hari plans to conduct a fundraising appeal to its members in support of Block, and as in years past, Block will hold its upcoming graduation ceremony at Nusach Hari.